This article investigates the reasons for the constitutional referendum held in Azerbaijan on September 26, 2016 and the functions that it played. It analyzes why President Ilham Aliyev opted to hold a referendum instead of using other tools to modify the Constitution and explores the implications of that referendum for the current rulers. Hence, by looking at how direct democracy instruments have been used in the past, the study provides a broad picture of the referendum’s significance for the development of the Azerbaijani regime. The research contributes to the literature on the use of instruments of direct democracy in nondemocratic contexts by providing insights on why and how these are applied by authoritarian rulers.


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pp. 435-453
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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